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Ann Arbor considering more protections for undocumented immigrants

Ann Arbor city hall.
Heritage Media

A resolution spelling out more protections for undocumented immigrants is expected to be addressed on May 1 by the Ann Arbor City Council. 

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor says the proposed resolution's goal is to make city policies clear so undocumented immigrants will not be afraid to get help from police or to interact with other city officials.

"We're not here to enforce federal immigration law," said Taylor. "We're here to enforce local law for the safety of the community and for the safety of immigrants within that community."

"The resolution articulates policy and practices for law enforcement and other city agencies as to what they will do and what they will not do with respect to immigration status of individuals," said Taylor.

For example, the resolution states, among many provisions,  that Ann Arbor officials will require a judicial warrant before detaining anyone at the request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP). 

Taylor says the resolution spells out in writing what is, for the most part, already standard operating procedure in Ann Arbor.

Taylor says he doesn't  believe there is anything in the resolution that puts the city at odds with federal law. So withholding federal funds for Ann Arbor would not be justified. 

President Trump signed an executive order in January threatening to withhold federal grants from so-called sanctuary cities. Ann Arbor officials have not adopted the label "sanctuary city," which does not have a specific definition.

Taylor says the proposed resolution was drafted with input from the public, the police, the city attorney, and other city staff, and it is partly based on recommendations from the American Civil Liberties Union's "Freedom Cities" campaign.

This resolution follows an ordinance passed on April 3 by the Ann Arbor City Council that sets out when city police and other city officials may and may not ask about a person's immigration status.